Moorhead, Minn., officials ignore residents’ OK of 24/6 rail bridge construction

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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Three rail bridges in Moorhead, N.D., will not be complete until mid-2022.

The people of Moorhead, Minn., like their summer nights, and workers on a railroad underpass will have to enjoy them as well.

The Moorhead City Council rejected a request by the contractor of the underpass at Main Avenue and 20th Street South to build 24 hours, six days a week in an effort to speed construction.

The biggest deterrent appears to be the extra cost. Ames Construction Co. said the cost for extra workers and extra equipment would be $2.2 million. The project currently sits at $51 million, and now will most likely stay within the target, which is $52 million. Work is expected to be complete in the summer of 2022. Accelerating the schedule would have wrapped up work by December of this year.

If approved, workers still would have to adhere to low noise levels and would face a number of restrictions during the 24-hour windows. Construction will continue to happen from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, with the option also to have activity on Saturdays.

However, the residents of Moorhead seem to favor the proposed schedule. According to a survey, which registered just a 35% response rate, 173 favored the 24/6 timeline, while just 50 opposed it.

Assistant City Engineer Tom Trowbridge said speeding up work would not guarantee an earlier finish due to the ongoing pandemic, rain delays, an early winter, and noise complaints.

The three rail bridges are expected to be complete by the end of this year before crews turn their attention to the roads underneath the span. That work will not start until next spring.

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